Two drivers had their steering wheels fall off while driving.
In both cases, the retaining bolt for the steering wheel was missing.
The NHTSA is also continuing two other investigations related to Tesla’s Autopilot system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new probe into Tesla, this time due to steering wheels which may detach while driving.
This investigation started after the NHTSA received two reports of an incident where the steering wheel detached from a Model Y SUV while driving.
In both cases, the steering wheel suddenly came off in the driver’s hands in 2023 model-year vehicles which were almost brand new.
The investigations that followed both incidents found that the steering wheel retaining nut was missing, which left only friction to hold the wheel in place.
In order to make sure this doesn’t happen again, the NHTSA requested information from the manufacturer and is conducting a preliminary evaluation which will aim to determine if the problem is isolated to these two vehicles or rather the result of a flaw in the manufacturing process.
If that is the case, the agency could order a mandatory recall of the group of vehicles which could be affected by a similar problem.
This new probe brings the number of active NHTSA investigations into Tesla up to three since two other probes are still looking into potential issues with the automaker’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta driver assistance features.
Indeed, the NHTSA launched its first investigation a little over a year ago after having received hundreds of reports claiming the automatic emergency braking system activated for no reason in some cars. This phenomenon often called Phantom braking justified the investigation of 416,000 vehicles.
In addition, regulators opened another probe last year after multiple crashes involving Tesla vehicles and their Autopilot system caused over a dozen injuries and one death.
Source: Automotive News